By Matthew Adkins
Gearheads and car enthusiasts of all ages trekked to Jesse Bethel High School Saturday for the second Cars on the Quad event.
Hosted by the school and organized by athletic booster clubs, the car show gave local car clubs a chance to strut their stuff while financially supporting the students.
While the show was mostly for fun, a number of trophies were also up for grabs this year, including Best in Show, Athlete’s Choice and Principal’s Award.
Source: Annual car show held at Jesse Bethel High School
By Kimberly K. Fu
They stomped and danced and threw beach balls in the air Friday morning all while clad for comfort and celebration.
Must have been the 25th annual prom for students with adapted physical education needs.
Bus after bus arrived from the Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun school districts, each carrying students of all ages who were ready to party.
The celebrants gathered in the Armijo High School gym, passing through entrances strewn with glittery silver stars.
Source: Students countywide enjoy special prom at Armijo
By Richard Bammer
Just how local education leaders on June 29 will vote on a proposed and newly named independent charter school is unknown, but a Sacramento-area charter school group director who has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified officials to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the district faced a spate of pointed questions Thursday night.
Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, a nonprofit charter company that operates four charter schools, made a 15-minute presentation during a packed governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center, touting the independent charter school’s standardized test results, suspension rate, education model and demographics.
But during a question-and-answer session with trustees, he at times appeared to stumble at providing quick answers from board members, especially Whit Whitman, and could not provide some sought-after financial information about Heritage Peak, the learning center at 354 Parker St. in downtown Vacaville. (If the petition is approved, it will be renamed as Pacific Valley Charter Academy.)
Source: New charter school petition aired during Vacaville school board meeting
By Ryan McCarthy
White string cheese and red grapes, a DJ playing “Gangnam Style” and photographers taking pictures – the 2017 prom Friday at the Armijo High School gym had it all.
More than 200 students from around Solano County came for the event with a quarter-century history. It is supported from the Associated Student Body of Armijo High and sponsored by employees of The Dutra Group dredging and marine construction company in the Bay Area.
The prom for adapted physical education and special education students got a new name a couple of years ago, said Lynne Lee, an adapted physical education instructor.
Source: Armijo High School draws students countywide for prom
By Susan Hiland
The artwork of Will C. Wood High’s Jasmin Tupy has been voted a top-five finalist for the National Vans Custom Culture Art Contest and the was only school in California to be selected.
The competition’s final event takes place in June when the five finalists will be awarded with an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their customized shoe design around the Vans’ “Off the Wall” themes to a panel of celebrity judges.
The grand prize for the winning school is $50,000 toward its art program and the potential of one of the designs sold in Vans retail locations. The four runner-up schools will receive $4,000 toward their art program.
Source: Good News: Vacaville student’s art picked as Top 5 in nation
By Susan Hiland
Caroline Chouvinard, a junior at Armijo High School, is a dog lover who wants to do something for animals but she is too young to work at a rescue center. So she came up with a solution that is part school project, part community project and an animal helper.
Since December, she has been hatching a project for her International Baccalaureate certificate, which has several requirements. One of those is community activity service.
“Students feel that they can’t make a difference in animal rescue because you have to be 18 years old to do it,” Chouvinard said. “So I organized a Walk for Pets.”
Source: Students help animals and community with project
By Michael Collier
As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.
But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.
The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.
Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
How do you learn history, teamwork, community involvement and several disciplines of art, all at the same time?
Randall Goni’s Jesse Bethel High School ceramics class did it by getting involved with the Capitol Street Stairs Mosaic Project, that’s been working its way through the system for slightly more than a year.
Local artist Sarah Nichols conceived of the project and, with Berkeley artist Jos Sances, dreamed up the idea of involving the art students, she said.
Source: Bethel art students working on downtown Vallejo art project fund-raiser
By Tony Wade
Before he became an Armijo High School teacher/vice principal and later the first principal of Fairfield High School, Sam Tracas grew up in the then-small town of Mishawaka, Indiana.
After graduating from high school in 1944, his family moved to California. He served in the Navy for two years, then went to UC Berkeley under the GI Bill. Tracas soon discovered a new-found appreciation for his old Indiana high school.
Source: Sam Tracas built a legacy in local education
By Richard Bammer
Solano Community Foundation has awarded sizable scholarships to 10 Vacaville high school seniors, it has been announced.
Seven students received Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships, five from Will C. Wood High, including Dylan Nute, Ian Kitamura, Mercedes Hall, Willow Rigney and Hailey Milsaps; one from Buckingham Charter High, Mikayla Canales; and one from Vacaville High, Cassidy Aberson. Each four-year award is worth $14,000, or $3,500 per year.
Cassiel Nortier-Tilly of Vacaville High School received the Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000. Powell was principal of Vacaville High and promoted academic achievement. An annual citywide spelling bee is named after her.
Kristoffer Hernandez of Vacaville High and Rita Zughbaba from Buckingham Charter will receive an Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship of $2,500 each for one year. Briggs was a sheet metal worker at Mare Island, and later taught mechanical drawing at Solano Community College.
Source: Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships
By Richard Bammer
Nearly everyone has a “favorite teacher” story, it’s something of a conversation cliche, really, but, by all accounts, Kelly Sparrow’s one-year Spanish-language teaching stint at Wood High very likely will be the subject of long-held fond memories for his 150 students across five classes.
Nearing the end of the academic year, the students Thursday took it upon themselves to show their affection and respect throughout the day in several endearing ways, each symbolizing a heartfelt “thank you,” surprise efforts that humbled the 71-year-old educator whose one-year emergency teaching credential will soon end.
Source: A beloved educator
By Ryan McCarthy
They’ll attend the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Solano College; and other schools, study subjects that include molecular biology and were recognized Thursday by the Fairfield-Suisun School District for earning a 4.0 grade-point average or higher.
“You work hard,” school board president Judi Honeychurch said to students. “You’re doing an amazing job.”
More than 100 students from Armjio, Fairfield and Rodriguez high schools and the Public Safety Academy gathered at Willow Hall at the Fairfield Civic Center for the Highest Honors awards ceremony.
Source: Highest Honors commends students with 4.0 and higher grade-point average
By Richard Bammer
A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.
Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.
The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.
The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.
Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda
By Richard Bammer
In its first year, the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy For Independent Learning sends students, teacher Roxann Lynch-Burns said, on a “journey” toward academic and life success.
As a “dependent” charter school overseen by Vacaville Unified, it is a campus, currently adjacent to the Sierra Vista School campus on Bel Air Drive, that “serves everybody,” she added.
For students who do not quite fit in a traditional school setting, the K-12 school, with nearly 300 students, is “tailored” to fit the needs of the home-schooled or Independent Study student, noted Lynch-Burns.
Source: Kimme Charter sends students on ‘journey’ to academic, life success – The Reporter
By Ryan McCarthy
Getting off the “Titanic” will cost more than staying aboard.
Fairfield Councilwoman Pam Bertani supplied the description of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and consultant John Bartel provided the cost analysis.
The city’s pension costs will climb yearly for the next decade until they’re projected to reach $37.5 million annually, Bartel’s study for Fairfield said.
“This is a bad deal. This is a very bad deal,” Bertani said. “We can’t afford it.”
Source: Exiting CalPERS ‘extremely expensive,’ Fairfield council told
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that nearly 500,000 California students took California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests on Tuesday May 9, the highest number of students testing simultaneously during the 2017 spring testing season.
“We are in the third year of administering these state-of-the-art assessments, and the capacity of our system and our schools to efficiently administer these tests increases every year,” Torlakson said. “Our students and families are the ultimate winners here. The information from these tests will help our schools refine their teaching, improve learning, and better prepare our students for success.”
The CAASPP assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics are given each spring to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. More than two-thirds of the 3.3 million eligible California students have begun testing. As of Wednesday, May 10, more than 2.7 million students statewide have started a summative assessment in English language arts/literacy or mathematics. Participation peaked on May 9 with 495,463 students testing at one time.
Source: Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
Benicia High School’s Grad Night Board and Committee will be holding its first ever pasta feed, fundraiser and silent auction tomorrow night at the Clocktower. The proceeds will benefit Grad Night, an evening of safe, sober fun for new Benicia High and Liberty High School graduates on the grounds of the BHS campus, featuring games, crafts, karaoke and a whole lot more.Funds are needed to bring these activities in, so the Grad Night Committee puts on several fundraisers throughout the year, often at local restaurants. The silent auction at the Clocktower will not only help benefit Grad Night, but it also will give attendees the chance to come home with some really cool prizes. How cool?
Source: Grad Night fundraiser, pasta dinner to be held at Clocktower tomorrow
By Richard Bammer
Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will consider the annual District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) report, approve new courses at C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School, discuss a teacher survey on elementary school reconfiguration, and likely approve the Measure Q Citizen Oversight Committee membership roll.
Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent of educational services, will present the DELAC report.
Every California public school district, grades K-12, is required to form a DELAC if it has 51 or more English-learner students. The committee is comprised of school staff, parents of English-learner students, other parents and community members who are interested in English-learner programs. The committee advises the district’s governing board (in person, by letters or reports, or through an administrator, on programs and services for English learners).
In the agenda documents, Walbridge noted that an unspecified number of parent members will offer a brief “needs assessment as part of the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) stakeholder engagement process.”
Source: English-learner report, student achievement plan on Dixon Unified agenda
By Richard Bammer
Sunshining of bargaining proposals between the Solano Community College trustees and Local 39 of the Operating Engineers union, several major construction contracts, and the educational agreement between Mariani Nut Company of Winters and the SCC District are on the agenda when college leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Local 39 has presented its initial bargaining proposals to the district board for the purpose of sunshining, as required by law. To sunshine bargaining proposals is to inform the public what will be discussed during labor negotiations. The topics include — no surprise — pay and allowances, working conditions, hours and overtime and leaves of absence.
Public comment on the proposals will be received at the next governing board meeting, June 7.
The eight-member governing board will consider a $78,000 contract with Consolidated Engineering Laboratories for project special inspection and testing services for the new science building project at the main Fairfield campus.
By Nick Sestanovich
After an online poll indicated that Benicia High School graduating seniors and parents would rather hold their graduation at Diablo Valley College than at the school’s own George Drolette Stadium, school administrators made DVC’s stadium the new graduation location.Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the Drolette Stadium has been under construction due to a renovation plan funded through Measure S. With several rainy days in the early months of 2017 delaying construction, administrators began exploring other possible locations, including the lower baseball fields, Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field, Solano Community College, Alhambra High School in Martinez and DVC. However, with the weather clearing up in March, quick progress was made on the field, increasing the likelihood of the graduation being held at Drolette Stadium, as it has been for many decades.
In April’s Panther Post newsletter, administrators noted that if the graduation were held at the stadium, it would remain an active construction site except for the time alloted to host graduation. In talking to other area high schools, Benicia High administrators learned that it is common for schools to use tickets and issue two to six per student, Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt said, so they decided to try it out at Benicia High for this year. As noted in the newsletter, seniors would only be allowed to invite six guests, and those who did not need all six tickets would be encouraged to give them to seniors who needed extra tickets or turn them into the main office to be raffled off in a lottery system before graduation.
Source: Seniors, parents vote to hold BHS graduation at DVC this year